2014 SCI campaign involving SCI members, partners and many volunteers around the globe
Workcamp with refugee children, Switzerland (2011)
SCI’s mission is to promote a culture of peace by organising international volunteering projects with local and global impact. Promoting a culture of peace in SCI basically means that every single SCI project contributes in its own way to peace, tolerance, respect and understanding among people, as well as to international solidarity. In the more than ninety years of the organisation´s existence, these values have been at the core of SCI´s work worldwide. The SCI network has grown enourmously since the first workcamp in 1920 took place, but the organisation`s aims have remained unchanged. Throughout the years, there has been a gradual change though, in the way in which SCI works towards its mission.
The first SCI projects where practically orientated peace projects, for example reconstruction work after the First World War. The idea of SCI was to create a space for people from all over the world to work together in a peaceful way. And to demonstrate the possibility for international solidarity and cooperation. The motto of SCI back then was “Deeds NOT Words”. Over time this idea regarding promoting peace has changed. As of the 1960`s voluntary projects gradually transformed into the kind of workcamps SCI is organising today. SCI volunteers became more aware of the different forms of structural violence. They realised the need to not onlywork for peace but also discuss peace. Workcamps now often contain a study component and SCI’s motto has changed to “Deeds AND Words”.
SCI nowadays wants to offer its volunteers a chance to deepen their understanding of peace and how to contribute to it. This is being achieved through Peace Education: the process of learning about peace and for peace. Learning about peace refers to obtaining knowledge and understanding of what peace actually means. What contributes to peace? What damages peace? What leads to war, ...? Learning for peace means to obtain the skills, attitudes and values that are needed in order to contribute to establishing peace and to help maintain it. For example non-violent conflict resolution, creative thinking, intercultural dialogue, etcetera. At present, two working groups exist in SCI that are active in Peace Education. These are the `No More War`group and the Peace Messengers Network.
In the coming years SCI will continue to promote a culture of peace. Strategic goals and objectives have been formulated as well as conrete steps to achieve these, in the SCI Strategic Plan.